Anonymous, anti-brand & totally absurd: GoonnCity debuts a mix with an interview on creating a community without rules

, 31 July 2020

When I opened the link containing GoonnCity’s mix for the site, it was titled ‘abnq mix bass boost’. I thought I was expected to take it seriously. After all, a quick glance at the emerging internet collective’s  SoundCloud pages reveal a swath of random memes, anime, colorful furry pets, as well as other obscured mashups of iconography and characters. The music oscillates just as wildly, cycling between high-pitched Auto-Tune rap tracks, deep-faked SpongeBob vocal tags, emo guitar ballads, and full-force EDM.

It seems less coordinated than 100 gecs’ multi-genre ballads that resist singular classification; or the up-ticked falsetto of AR645 that disarms serious hip-hop tropes. A clear influence can be traced to Stockholm’s Drain Gang and their infectious pop music that draws from post-rave Europe. Yet, many of GoonnCity’s contemporaries have refined their brands very early on with the help of big labels, promising guest features, and sleek graphic identities—all of which this crew appears to defy both intentionally and inadvertently.

Image courtesy GoonnCity.

Instead, the collective is unapologetic and confrontational, cementing the GoonnCity sound in a nexus of Gen Z motifs, rarely cohesive internet aesthetics, and playful anonymity. They toy with absurdity, relying on confused interpretations to fuel the excitement of their fans. It could be viewed as insincere online chaos. However, I’d like to think that the collective is designed to invite anyone—especially those willing to knock down its veneer—into an ecstatic myriad of post-cool kid culture. Themes of nostalgia, future anxiety, love, and virtual living are found across the crew’s expansive genre-bending discography, evoking a feel-good sense of honesty despite all the guarded humor. 

Self-proclaimed CEO of the label, Misakufoxx, poses in Kigurumi animal costumes and steampunk clothing. His bio reads ‘Trusted #Business Advisor’. Core member kevinhilfiger’s says ‘GoonnCity© Securities and Exchange Chairman’. I was able to get in touch with them and a few other affiliates on Skype to learn a little more about the bizarre world of GoonnCity.

**What is GoonnCity? How did it start?

Misakufoxx: I think that’s for Misa, the CEO. I mean, I guess it’s an artist’s collective. Not just music but like, like graphic art. Everything really.

Kevinhilfiger: I think of it as a real place. I refer to it in songs as an actual place. I’m like, ‘yo, I live in GoonnCity. I live in GoonnCity’.

**With regards to the up-pitching and the vocal modifying– if I don’t know who you are, the personality of who would be making this music would be totally distorted. I wouldn’t understand who was behind it. Is there a reason you all intentionally do that?

KH: That’s funny. I never actually really thought of that but I think I like the anonymity. I think that’s important to a lot of people in this community in general. Even if we don’t really talk about it, it’s focussing less on the person creating the music.

**When I was first getting into music, a lot of people had just joined Facebook and there were a ton of micro-communities that were hosting live shows on Tinychat. Now that social media has become more disparate and less centralized, I’m curious to know about the online meeting points where your collective meets.

KH: Oh, I feel like not just us, but this community in general—we spend a lot of time just hanging out with each other on Discord. I guess it’s just a big place where we hang out. We’ve done a GoonnCity show on discord and it was like pretty successful. We’ve done all kinds of online festivals that we’ve been a part of. Discord has just been a really cool part, especially during this pandemic to do shows when you can’t physically meet.

kevinhilfiger & guardin, ‘i smply dnt care’ (2020). Image courtesy GoonnCity.

KH: Yeah, Discord—It’s like a pit. It’s really a pit. There are a lot of servers that are just a lot of cool people just making music, but it’s also like a pit.

MF: And there’s different one’s for different collectives; like Bloodhounds has one. We have ours. There’s a bunch.

**You all mentioned anonymity earlier and I feel like, for example with you Misa, that you definitely exemplify a persona. How important is the idea of having a persona within the collective?

MF: I think I definitely put on a persona just because I kind of like it. You get more appeal. More people resonate with it instead of just me, because I’m kind of boring.

Ben(n)ny: And that too kind of goes back to being based online is that people can’t necessarily know the whole truth behind you.

ben(n)y, ‘shoutouts freestyle (prod. vescure) ILY GOONNCITY<3’ (2020). Image courtesy GoonnCity.

**Goth Money Records basically made their own world in hip hop. Especially with the graphics, Marcy Mane would do this a lot. He made up a state called Flexico. The veneer and iconography were super-specific, so it felt like when you’d go onto their pages, you’d really be diving into a whole world.

MF: I take some inspiration from them too. I was wearing a Goth Money shirt a couple minutes ago. And just like being this CEO figure in the group. I like inspiration from things like Goth Money, Raider Klan, et cetera.

** In the past graphic design has been used in internet music to conjure worlds and critique society but GoonnCity proudly incorporates memes and a sense of absurdity. Can you talk a little bit about that more? Does it serve a way of being more present in the music?

BY: I think the memes and those sorts of things being incorporated in the art lend to taking ourselves less seriously and being able to make a joke about you know, the fact that we’re kind of in this goofy collective.

KH: Yeah, we like to make fun of ourselves a lot.

MF: Yeah.

KH: We’re kind of anti-brand in the sense that brands are so rigid and they have all these specific things. We’re just here having fun, you know what I mean?**

Track Listing:

midwxst – troops + wido osquinn (prblm)
kasper gem – stuck up (rodney)
8485 – 1:15 (fromtheheart)
kevinhilfiger – claustrophobia (rodney kevinhilfiger)
Misakufoxx – radio killa (nobevdiego x switch)
Blackwinterwells – ouch! + killz (benisdying x redpriest)
2007 – choppa (waytoogone)
Alice gas – paranoid
Dvdi – mysterious circles (blackwinterwells)
Luvox – crush on me
Irys – bloodsport
ben(n)y – newgroundss (pitfall + wido)
zach wae – fragrance + midwxst (grievo)
Torno – smile (ddertbag)
websight – church nights + almightyx (shyburial)
Paprika – Yuri (torno)
Vescure – vegan (curtiz57)
Space – yip (trip)
Fyzical – monster (blackwinterwells)
Riffey + 2007 – queen of the dark (kiryano)
rugee – spaces (noms)
Omi – ##bloddborne (prblm)
Montyshawty – geek! (fbk x max flames)
Chach – haha (rio Leyva)

GoonnCity is releasing an exclusive mix detailing the sound of their no-rules online community via AQNB today, July 31, 2020.